Wolfgang Lutz

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis


Election Year: 2016
Primary Section: 64, Human Environmental Sciences
Secondary Section: 53, Social and Political Sciences
Membership Type: Foreign Associate

Biosketch

Wolfgang Lutz is Founding Director of the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital, a cooperation between IIASA (where he directs the World Population Program), the Austrian Academy of Sciences (where he is director of the Vienna Institute of Demography) and the Vienna University of Economics and Business (where he is Professor of Statistics). He holds a PhD in Demography from the University of Pennsylvania.

He has widely published on international population trends with a special focus on population forecasting, population-development-environment interactions and introducing education as a standard demographic dimension in addition to age and sex. He has published over 250 scientific articles, including 11 in Science and Nature. His most recent book with OUP is entitled “World Population and Human Capital in the 21st Century. He has won prestigious awards including the Wittgenstein Prize, an ERC Advanced Grant, the Mattei Dogan award of the IUSSP and the Mindel Shaps Award of PAA. He is member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Leopoldina, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), the Finnish Society for Sciences and Letters and the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Research Interests

Wolfgang Lutz is substantively interested in the role of population factors in sustainable development and methodologically in a wide range of applications of demographic methods to capturing and forecasting social and economic changes. For the past decades, his main interest has been in the field of global population forecasts, both in terms of probabilistic projections and multi-dimensional age-, sex- and education-specific scenarios. In this context he has also focused on the drivers of long-term fertility trends in Africa and on how low birth rates can fall in Europe and Asia. He has operationalized the model of “Demographic Metabolism” which explains social change on the basis of intergenerational differences in relevant characteristics and is one of the few models of social change with predictive power. This model has been particularly powerful for reconstructing and projecting the changing compositions of populations by level of educational attainment. As a consequence, he has become interested in empirically estimating the consequences of increasing human capital in an age- and gender-specific way, ranging from economic growth to health to quality of institutions and adaptive capacity to environmental change. He has also a long record in trying to understand and quantitatively model the complex population-development-environment interactions globally and in specific case studies and he applies this in trying to forecast societies’ future adaptive capacities to climate change.

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